Senators propose smartphone antitheft 'kill switch' bill

Lawmakers' bids to require a smartphone "kill switch" seem to be gaining momentum.

Following the proposal of a California bill, a handful of senators have now proposed federal legislation to require carriers to provide a security feature on all cell phones that would render the devices inoperable if stolen.

The Smartphone Theft Prevention Act is being led by Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), along with three other senators, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). The idea is for users to be able to de-activate and remotely wipe their personal information from their phones if lost or … Read more

Review: Protect your PC with ZoneAlarm Free Firewall

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall protects your Windows PC from intrusions and online threats. It's easy to use and works alongside your antivirus and other security tools, including many other firewalls. Its Auto-Learn feature conforms to your computer use. After you've allowed your frequently used apps, ZoneAlarm mostly works in the background, only appearing when something changes, like when you install a new program -- or some hacker tries to.

To install ZoneAlarm Free Firewall, you must opt for an IE toolbar and search provider (which keeps ZoneAlarm free of charge), though they uninstall with a click; or (like us) … Read more

Stressed UC Davis students get mobile mental health help

It's finals week at UC Davis, and the campus is gearing up to help students who may find themselves in crisis mode with today's launch of a mobile-friendly Web site that directs them to the most appropriate resources on campus and beyond. The service could be life-saving, given suicide is reportedly the second-leading cause of death among college students.… Read more

Review: Protect your PC with Norton AntiVirus 2014

Norton AntiVirus 2014 is the latest from one of the oldest names in anti-virus software. With protection for one PC, it's the most affordable of Symantec's premium packages. OK, we know what you're thinking: Why should you buy an anti-virus program, let alone one with an annual subscription, when freeware that does most of what it does is...well, free? Our two-part answer: 1) You get what you pay for, even in software; and 2) What's your system worth? How about your time? Or peace of mind? AntiVirus 2014 comes with the 24/7 technical support … Read more

How you may have inadvertently participated in recent DDoS attacks

The risk that an Internet-connected computer is infected with malware will never be reducible to zero. It's just the nature of software that errors happen. Where there are software-design errors, there are people who will exploit those errors to their advantage.

The best PC users can hope for is to minimize the chances of an infection and to mitigate the damage a piece of malware can inflict -- whether it intends to steal a user's sensitive data or to commandeer the machine as part of a cyber attack on servers thousands of miles away.

Last week, Internet users … Read more

Facebook boosts efforts on suicide prevention

In the wake of tech activist Aaron Swartz taking his life earlier this month, there has been a lot of discussion about how to get suicidal people help before it's too late.

Facebook, which has already done work on suicide prevention, is upping its efforts on seeing what more it can do to prevent future suicides.

The social media site recently started working with suicide prevention group SAVE to see if user data on how suicidal people act on social media -- in the weeks and days leading up to their deaths -- could be helpful in pinpointing early … Read more

Philippines court halts a contentious cybercrime law

Days after a strict cybersecurity law went into effect in the Philippines, the country's Supreme Court suspended it.

According to the Associated Press, the court issued a temporary restraining order to freeze the government's enforcement of the Cybercrime Prevention Act 2012. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the law will be suspended for 120 days. The court plans to hear oral arguments from the law's supporters and critics in January.

President Benigno Aquino III signed the law last month and it became official last week. There were no reports of anyone violating the law.

Thousands of people … Read more

Protect yourself with SpywareBlaster

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that's especially true when it comes to spyware; wouldn't you rather protect your system than spend hours trying to rid it of malicious visitors? SpywareBlaster is a simple program that provides protection from ActiveX-based software and unwanted cookies for both Firefox and Internet Explorer users.

SpywareBlaster has a simple interface that will be easy for even novices to navigate. The main screen shows the protection status for Internet Explorer, restricted Web sites, and Firefox. By default, protection is disabled for each of these, but you can easily … Read more

Norton 2013 offers good Windows 8 support, but struggles on benchmarks

Review: Symantec has moved Norton 360 to the same release schedule as Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus, making them into a three-tiered strategy for consumer security. Norton AntiVirus is the entry-level product, with Norton Internet Security occupying the middle rung and Norton 360 aimed at people who want the most bang for the most buck.

Notoriously slow to respond to trends, the consumer security field is surprisingly not taking Windows 8 lying down. Norton and many of its competitors are optimizing their suites for Microsoft's new operating system ahead of its release, and Norton is combining that strategy … Read more

How to prevent phone and tablet theft

If you're under the age of 25, there's almost an even chance you have lost your cell phone or had it stolen at least once. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted last April, 45 percent of cell phone users between the ages of 18 and 24 have had a phone lost or stolen.

The survey also found that 3 out of 10 cell phone users between the ages of 35 and 54 have misplaced their device or had it stolen, as Kashmir Hill reports on

There's nothing new about cell phones being popular … Read more